Thoroughbreds revolves around two friends, Lilly,(Anya Taylor-Joy) and Amanda, (Olivia Cooke), as they try and murder Lilly’s stepfather Mark. Both actresses give fantastic performances, with Olivia Cooke, in particular, being a show stopper. Cooke’s lack of emotion is eerily clear and will make you feel uncomfortable; with the film using some wonderfully slow scenes showing her staring off into space, thereby building a feeling of quiet uneasiness. Anya Taylor-Joy’s Lilly is also fantastic as we see that she is also incredibly cold, but rather than let that show she builds false personas. What Thoroughbreds does, in my opinion, better than any other film I’ve seen this year, is build great three dimensional characters, that you can empathize with. That is the genius of this film: even though Lilly and Amanda do terrible things throughout, you still feel sorry for them even in a way you root for them. The film is paced superbly, giving the character there due time, without wasting a single scene. Anton Yelchin plays Tim, a drug dealer the girls originally try and blackmail into doing the hit for them. Yelchin’s performance is genuinely layered, with him being initially quite menacing and threatening, whilst later on, he’s more sympathetic. The use of sound design in this film is incredibly clever, with the sound of the rowing machine, slowly driving Lilly into insanity being very reminiscent of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I felt quite a lot of Poe’s influence in the film with elements reminding me of both the TellTale heart and the Raven. Furthermore, the use of the violins and cowbells, as non-diegetic parts of the score, was inspired as it has a wonderful off-kilter quality. The ending was genuinely upsetting, which is a testament to how much you end up caring about these fundamentally bad characters. Overall this is a very cold film in the best possible way, being incredibly tense, but also oddly warm at times. This is definitely a must see, but be warned it most certainly isn’t for everyone.
Reviewed by Luke

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